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The Ongoing Nakba: Advocating for Justice
The Ongoing Nakba: Advocating for Justice
| May 15, 2024

Palestinian refugees leaving a village near Haifa, June 1948. Photo: Corbis

History is repeating itself. The Palestinian People are marking the Nakba, “catastrophe” this year in almost identical circumstances of facing a very real threat to their existence on their Homeland by the hands of the same perpetrators almost 8 decades ago.

This time the Internationally defined illegal Israeli Occupation of the Palestine is erasing not only all achievements and developments that has ever taken place in Palestine, but also the lives of as many Palestinians as politically possible.

In 1948, It is estimated that between 700,000 to 800,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes, becoming refugees overnight.

Many were subjected to violence, massacres, and the eradication of their cities, towns, and villages by the newly immigrating Zionist militias in their attempt to replace the native populations to claim the land as their own.

The Nakba resulted in the loss of life for tens of thousands of Palestinians and the destruction of hundreds of villages, leading to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

The trauma and consequences of the Nakba continue to reverberate through generations of Palestinians to this day, shaping their collective memory and ongoing struggle for justice and the right of return.

As the world commemorates the Nakba, it is imperative to acknowledge that for us Palestinians, the Nakba has never truly ended.

The decades-long struggle for justice and self-determination continues, with the current situation in the Gaza Strip serving as a stark reminder of the ongoing plight of Palestinian People.

It is indeed mind-boggling that after more than 8 decades, Palestinians find themselves facing a new Nakba in the Gaza Strip.

The relentless bombardment of the Israeli Occupation Forces has so far resulted in the loss of over 35,000 lives, with the majority being innocent women and children, and further displaced 1.9 million Palestinians inside the Gaza Strip, with nowhere safe to go.

The indiscriminate bombing campaigns, the systematic starvation, and siege tactics employed against Palestinians constitute grave violations of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions and have resulted in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, yet the world seems all too willing to turn a blind eye by failing to hold the perpetrators accountable.

The reality of the world’s inaction and indifference to the suffering of Palestinians is deeply disappointing. How can we, as an international community, allow history to repeat itself in such a horrifying manner? The principles of justice and human rights demand that we stand in solidarity with the oppressed and hold perpetrators of violence and occupation accountable.

It is essential to recognize that the Palestinian struggle is not isolated but intersects with the broader global fight against colonialism.

Just as Palestinians have endured decades of dispossession and oppression, so too have countless peoples across the world, including in Africa.

The scars of colonialism run deep, and nowhere is this more evident than in the experiences of countries like Kenya. The brutal colonization of Kenya marked by violence, land theft, and systemic oppression, shares striking parallels with the plight of Palestinians.

Both peoples have suffered the consequences of imperial domination, displacement, and the denial of their basic rights. By acknowledging this widely shared history of suffering and resistance, we can forge stronger solidarity among oppressed peoples and work collectively towards a future rooted in justice, equality, and self-determination for all.

The only viable solution to this conflict lies in granting Palestinians their long-denied statehood and right to self-determination, based on a two-state solution in accordance with international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.

It is time for the international community to uphold its obligations under international law and ensure the implementation of relevant United Nations resolutions that recognize the rights of the Palestinian people.

We have recently seen a number of countries fulfilling their obligations by recognizing Palestine as a State, in a manner that reflects the will of the overwhelming majority of States in the United Nations.

This is consistent with the 14 out of 15 votes in the United Nations Security Council voting for a full Palestinian Membership, a will denied by the unjust use of Veto power by the United States of America.

On a similar note, on the 10th of May 2024, the international community casted again their vote in recognition to this right, when 143 voted in favour of Palestinian representation rights at the UN in addition on calling on United Nations Security Council to endorse Palestine’s full membership at the organization.

It is also important to note that only 9 countries  have voted against the afore mentioned resolution, which are: the United States of America, Israel, Argentina, Czechia, Hungary, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Papua New Guinea.

Central to any resolution of the conflict is the importance of accountability. We must confront the atrocities committed against Palestinians, as there is  a long list of recorded massacres carried out by Zionist militias since 1948, such as the infamous Deir Yassin massacre in 1948, Sabra and Shatila massacre in 1982, the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in 1994, and the countless massacres that followed to this very day.

Acknowledging, and addressing the ramifications of these brutalities is a  prerequisite to move forward and make sure that newer ones are not added to this list. 

The world today is vastly different from 1948. With the advent of technology and social media, the atrocities committed against Palestinians in Gaza are being witnessed in real-time by people around the globe.

The belief shared by Palestinians and numerous countries globally is that genocide is taking place in the Gaza Strip.

These heinous crimes cannot be overlooked or justified. Engaging in “self-defenCe” does not warrant the annihilation of an entire population.

Palestinians have never asked for anything but their legitimate rights – the right to live in dignity, free from occupation and oppression.

This includes the right of return for Palestinian refugees scattered across the world, longing to reclaim their ancestral homes and lands of which they were forced to flee.

As we reflect on the ongoing Nakba, let us recommit ourselves to the pursuit of justice and peace for the Palestinian people.

It is time to heed their cries for freedom and equality and work towards a future where all peoples, regardless of ethnicity or religion, can coexist in peace, security, and harmony. Anything less would be a betrayal of our shared humanity.

The writer is the Palestinian Ambassador to Kenya.

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